These Floors are Awesome

A week ago, we had 13 people spend the night. My sister-in-law and her Bible quiz team had a meet nearby and needed a place to crash.

While we have a guest room, a futon and some couches, we don’t have nearly enough beds for all those people. The girls slept upstairs, my sister-in-law got the guest room, and the boys had the main floor–I do mean floor.

The next morning, when I headed to the kitchen for my coffee, one of the boys told me “these floors are awesome.” Now, he wasn’t crazy, and he wasn’t talking about the beauty of the carpet or how cushy the floors are. Our floors are heated; and he’s right, they’re awesome.

My sister-in-law noticed when she hopped out of the shower her feet felt warm tiles instead of the usual cold. Just the day before, some workmen who took off their shoes at the front door were surprised to feel the warmth. On chilly days this winter, Baby Girl would find a good spot and just lay on the floor and soak up the heat.

I’ll say it again, “These floors are awesome.”

Now you may be thinking that we’re totally decadent to have heated floors throughout the main level. I might agree if radiant floors weren’t our only source of heat. We get a lot of solar heat from all those windows, but sunny days in November and December are few and far between. Let’s be honest, it’s the northwest. We get a lot of overcast and rainy days 10 months out of the year.

We also have a huge fireplace, that puts out a lot of heat. It helped us through those four days without power in January, but we aren’t in the habit of lighting a fire.

So while technically we have options, our heated floors are what keep us warm.

Unfortunately, the boiler that heats the water that flows through the copper tubing that in turn heats our floors is heated by oil. You may not have noticed, but oil’s a little expensive. It cost me $73.99 to fill up my car the other day. That’s nothing compared to filling up our oil tank twice since January. We have been looking at options.

The girls’ upstairs wing is heated by radiators. They are old, inefficient and make me a little nervous. Teenagers can be messy, and we don’t want a fire. It’s been cold in their wing this winter. That encourages them to spend more time with us, but I don’t want my girls to freeze.

A heat pump seems to be the answer. We’d pull out the radiators upstairs and heat and cool the girls’ wing with the heat pump. We’d upgrade the old boiler to one compatible with the heat pump and continue with the radiant floors on the main level. That leaves a cooling issue during the summer months, but we’re working on that.

Eventually, we’ll replace the carpet with something a lot lighter in color to avoid dramatic fading like this.

It looks like someone spilled something, but it’s just the difference between the original emerald green color that’s faded to teal. This is usually obscured by our furniture. I do vacuum occasionally.

While I like the softness of carpet, it blocks some of the heat from the floors. We’ve talked about replacing it with wood or more tile. We don’t want it to be too sterile or cold in here. I’d hate for it to echo.

The MR bought some retractable screen doors that are helping with the excess heat on warm days. The screen doors aren’t custom, so he’s been having some issues with getting them to fit properly.  But cross-ventilation makes a big difference. I know with a trip to the hardware store, he’ll have them working great.

We are still waiting on Buzz–the heating guy–to give us a final quote on the upgrades, but I thought I’d let you in on our first major project inside.

Have you had good luck with heat pumps? Should we replace the carpet with wood, tile or just less obnoxious carpet? Do you have big indoor projects coming up?

And now on a personal note, Sweet Miss had a wonderful time at prom. She looked beautiful and her dress was great. Note to self: even a short train gets stepped on a lot, and things don’t always look quite the same as the picture–neither of us thought mid-riff would be bare…oh well.

My Beautiful Girl on her special night.


5 thoughts on “These Floors are Awesome

  1. Just a note from an old A.C man, The padding and carpet also hold the heat longer so the heat won’t disapate to the ceiling, also don’t try to keep the room temp at 75 deg. just because the floors are warm. normally the thermostat is at shoulder height and that will run your heating bill up. We had friends in Seattle that had radiant heating in the cieling , they commented that they had some of the warmest cielings on Sunset Hill. Love your Blog’s and your work, how often does the o.m mow? Fred & Carol.

    • Thanks for the tip Fred. I think we’ll probably go with carpet when we finally get to that point. I like something cushy underfoot, and it’s good to know that it has other benefits, too. We got the riding mower last Monday, and he hasn’t taken it out again. He did finish caulking all the upper windows on the main floor this weekend, and that’s quite a chore.

  2. Oh wowie! What a beautiful dress, and dramatic effect. Brought tears to my eyes. She is indeed grown-ing up. I agree with Fred, keep to the carpet.So glad about the herb and veg. gardens growing on the deck. With everything starting out looking so perfectly serene, I am glad that you want the house to be a ‘working-family’ home, and each homey touch is wonderfully personal, as well as functional. Good for you!!

    • Sweet Miss has grown up so much. We will sure miss her come fall. A few years ago, I bought a bunch of deep red pots for the backyard. I’m glad the MR went with dark gray that blends in with the deck. Some day, we may have a “real” garden and plant everything elsewhere, but for now it’s great. Soon I’ll have herbs just feet from my kitchen.

  3. Pingback: Down the Rabbit Hole | bigwhitehouseonthehill

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